On March 31, 2023 the FDNY Boxing Team and NYPD Boxing Team went head to head in the Battle of the Badges boxing match at Terminal 5 in New York City. The FDNY Boxing Team raised $30,000 for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. Smart home recipient hero veteran Todd Nicely joined CEO Frank Siller for the check presentation. The NYPD Boxing Team’s proceeds benefit the NYC Cops & Kids Program, a privately funded, free youth mentoring and boxing program for kids aged 12-21. Tickets were sold out for the event. People interested in watching the Battle of the Badges were able to watch the action via livestream for $20 in advance or $30 day of.
Doors opened at 7PM and the first bout happened at 8PM. It has been nearly a decade since New York’s Bravest and New York’s Finest had their hugely popular boxing match.
The Battle of the Badges is organized by Bobby McGuire, President of the FDNY Boxing Team and Pat Russo, President and Founder of the NYC Cops & Kids Program. Pat Russo and Bobby McGuire are both 9/11 first responders and share a long history with their boxing teams. Both of them fought in the same NYPD vs. FDNY fight card at Madison Square Garden in the 1980s.
“Tunnel to Towers has helped so many families of members of the FDNY and of the NYPD” said Pat Russo. “We are coming together to do good and to never forget 9/11.” On 9/11, Pat was in Staten Island, NY inside a voting booth when he overheard an Officer’s radio who was stationed to work the polls that day. He heard that a plane hit one of the Twin Towers. He rushed home, turned on the TV and saw the second plane hit. Pat was already retired, but jumped into action to face the emergency at Ground Zero. “That was a terrible day in the history of America,” said Pat, “which is why we better never forget the people that we lost, and never forget their families.”
Bobby McGuire has been president of the FDNY Boxing Team since 2001, and was team captain from 1984-1994. Bobby retired from the FDNY after 22 years due to 9/11 related illnesses that he is still currently battling. “I was there when the second tower came down. I remember how eerily quiet it was at the World Trade Center” Bobby shared. “Papers and ash were flying everywhere, and there had to be a couple of inches of ash on the ground as if it had snowed. After seeing the complete destruction of the site we knew we were going to be there for a very long time.” Bobby’s nephew Firefighter Richard Allen tragically lost his life responding to the emergency at Ground Zero. “He was only 31 years old, and it was his first fire”, said Bobby.
The FDNY Boxing Team and the NYPD Boxing Team have both long supported Tunnel to Towers, with both organizations hosting boxing events benefiting the Foundation. The FDNY Boxing Team hosted Thrilla in Camilla in June 2021, and the NYPD Boxing Team hosted NY First Responders Unite for Fight Night in remembrance of the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
The FDNY Boxing team’s proceeds benefit the Tunnel to Towers’ In the Line of Duty Program which provides mortgage-free homes to our nation’s catastrophically injured veterans and first responders, mortgage-free homes to Gold Star families and Fallen First Responder families with young children, and mortgage-free homes for homeless veterans through our Veteran Homelessness program.